2020 is coming to a close so I figured this would be a good moment to pause and check in on how my publishing year has gone. It should go without saying that 2020 has been an unusually difficult year. And I don’t know about you, but I didn’t have “Global Pandemic” on my business’s SWOT analysis. I expect we’ll be grappling with the lingering effects of Covid for quite some time. But when it comes to the business side of things Adventurous Ink did pretty well! We’ve published five books over the last twelve months, and given that my stretch goal was six books, pre-pandemic, I’m quite happy with where we’ve landed.
In 2020, our little publishing business became modestly profitable. Woo-hoo! We’re not losing money! I attribute this to a few things:
- Keeping our per-book costs low.
- Publishing more frequently.
- Avoiding big expenses like book conferences.
- Putting my cozy series in Kindle Unlimited, which has been a good way to find new readers.
Beyond writing and publishing our books, we’ve been busy with behind-the-scenes projects. P improved our book build system, made an ePub error checker, and improved our accounting system. When you’ve got multiple books sold through various intermediaries in multiple currencies, financial reporting can get complicated, quick. I added two excellent beta readers to my beta crew and we’ve had more web traffic and more newsletter subscribers. And we improved the end-matter in our books, so when a reader reaches the last page of a novel they can find the next book in the series with one click. As of today, our new website is halfway complete, and it’s a significant improvement over my current one. The new site will load much faster, and P is coding in some neat features. Our new multi-store purchase buttons are simpler and easier to use, and the site looks good on all sorts of different screens.
It’s all good stuff.
Every year comes with challenges. The pandemic has been scary and distracting, and it’s hard to write good stories when you’re stressed down to the ends of your hair. On the creative side, I’ve found it challenging to manage multiple book series simultaneously. Bopping around from series to series is much harder than writing straight through! And with my multi-genre interests it’s been difficult to know where to focus my energy. Still, the struggle has been constructive. When it comes to what I’ll choose to write, I’ve basically landed on: “Write what makes me happy, finish what I start, then package and sell my work as intelligently as I can.” See? It sounds so simple when I say it out loud, but it took me a while to figure it out.
One year ago, I had four books out. Now, I’m writing my tenth. Ten books! I can hardly believe it.
Thinking about 2021
I’m still sorting it out, but here are some things I’m considering for publishing year 2021:
- Learning how to do online advertising (We’ve never run a single AMS ad)
- Publishing more books by: A) increasing my daily word count and B) hiring a copyeditor.
- Building up a bit of a gap between finishing a book and releasing it.
I’m fairly confident that these are the right moves to make, but we won’t have the luxury of doing them all at once. Yes, we turned a profit this year, but our small profit wouldn’t even fund a year’s worth of editing, let alone advertising. So we won’t be able to do everything we’d like at the same time.
Again, it’s all good stuff! Mostly, I’m excited about writing my next crop of stories, but I’m also enjoying the business side of things. I’ve gone from from publishing one book per year (or less) to publishing five. In 2021 I want to repeat that trick, maybe even faster, while selling more books, improving our systems, and writing stories that excite me.
To everyone who’s been following along, reading my books, and leaving me reviews, thanks so much. It all makes a difference. And I’m grateful.
Onward to 2021!